New York City
This is without a doubt my most favourite city in the world! Not only because it’s a very exciting and fun place to live, but also because of its richly diversified society. Everybody comes from somewhere else. New York City received a record of almost 60 million tourists in 2015, making it one of the top most visited cities in the world.
Located in the southern tip of New York State, it is the most densely populated city in the US. However, New York City should not be mistaken as the capital of the state. Albany is the state capital, which is further up north.
The area of New York City today was inhabited by various lines of the Algonquian tribes of Native Americans back in precolonial era. The year 1524 saw the first documented visit by a European, Giovanni da Verrazzano (named for the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island), an Italian explorer who served for the French crown, who later called the city “Nouvelle Angouleme.” This was followed by the Spanish and Portuguese. In 1609, the English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into the harbour and rediscovered the region. Today, this river is called the Hudson River, which separates New York from New Jersey. The first non-Native American settler in 1614 was a Portuguese of African descent named Juan Rodriguez, representing the Dutch. He arrived in the upper side of Manhattan area, of which Broadway was named in his honour.
The long-term Dutch presence started in 1624, where construction on a citadel and Fort Amsterdam on the island of Manhattan commenced, controlled mainly by the Dutch West India Company. They later called it New Amsterdam. The last Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant, surrendered New Amsterdam to the English troops led by Richard Nicolls. The English then changed the name of the city to New York, after the Duke of York- the future King James II. Afterwards, there were brief transfers between the Dutch and English, as well as intertribal wars between Native Americans.
New York rapidly grew as a trading port in early 1700s under the British rule. Then came the American Revolution between 1765 to 1783, in which the thirteen colonies (including New York) rejected British rule and founded the United States of America. By the 19th century, the city once again developed its status as a trading centre and entre of European immigration. The Great Irish Famine in the mid 1800s brought a large influx of Irish immigrants and the revolution in Germany brought in large number of German immigrants. The American Civil War ended in 1865 and by the early 20th century, there was a large influx of African Americans from the South. Rapid economic boom in the 1920s generated the construction of skyscrapers competing in height. Post World War II era also created economic boom, spreading out growth into the areas of Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island. In the mid 1900s there was an influx of immigrants from Asia and Latin America. By the end of the 20th century, the economy and diversity of the city reached an all-time high.
This changed on September 11, 2001. New York City and surrounding area suffered severe economic damage and large loss of human life when two commercial planes controlled by Al-Qaeda terrorists crashed into the South and North towers of the World Trade Centre and destroyed both, killing more than 2000 civilians, over 300 firefighters and around 70 law enforcement officers. It was one of the blackest day in American History.
Today, the new One World Trade Centre stands tall and proud, and ground-zero has become a 9/11 memorial and museum.
New York City is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan; Brooklyn; Bronx; Queens and Staten Island. Today, the city has a population of nine million.
Manhattan is the most densely populated borough. The Hudson River separates Manhattan, and New York with New Jersey, whereas the East River separates Manhattan with Queens and Brooklyn. An island on itself, there are several bridges and tunnels that connect all these boroughs together: Queensboro Bridge connects Manhattan and Queens; Triboro bridge connects Manhattan, Bronx and Queens; Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges connects Manhattan with Brooklyn; Verrazzano bridge connects Brooklyn with Staten Island; Midtown tunnel connects Manhattan and Queens; Holland and Lincoln tunnels connect Manhattan with neighbouring state New Jersey; and George Washington bridge connects Bronx with New Jersey.
There is also Staten Island Ferry, commutes people between Manhattan and Staten Island. This also a good ride for those who want to see the Statue of Liberty from up close, as well as the view of Manhattan and the bridges. Although most of the well-known sights in the city are situated in Manhattan, it is very worthwhile to venture out into Brooklyn to see the bohemian area of Williamsburg, or the traditional brownstones of Brooklyn Heights (from which both you can see the view of the Manhattan skyscrapers). In the summertime, the shores of Long Island, particularly the Hamptons, have very nice beaches and are quite beautiful this time of year.
John F. Kennedy (“JFK”) International Airport, La Guardia International Airport and Newark International Airport (New Jersey).
Central Park: Park Lane, JW Marriott Essex House, Ritz Carlton and Viceroy.
Uptown: Surrey, Carlysle, Mark, Loews Regency and Pierre (Taj).
Midtown: Benjamin, Four Seasons, Hilton, Sheraton, Marriot Marquis, Crowne Plaza, Waldorf Astoria and Warwick.
Downtown: W, Four Seasons, Conrad, Millenium Hilton, Sheraton Tribeca, Standard and Mercer.
-AirTrains operate from JFK and Newark airports that connect you to get to and from Manhattan, and onwards to other boroughs. From La Guardia Airport, public buses are available to take you to Manhattan and Queens.
- NYC subways operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, travelling through Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. It is one of the most comprehensive system in the world. The main subway stations in Manhattan are Grand Central and Times Square stations.
-NYC Bus also operates in all the five boroughs.
-The Staten Island Ferry also operates 24hours a day and 7 days a week, and commutes between Whitehall Terminal in Whitehall Street, Manhattan, to and from St George Terminal in Staten Island.
-The two main train stations for AMTRAK are: Grand Central Station on 42nd Street on the East side, and Penn Station on 34th Street on the West side.
You need to get a MetroCard to use the subways and buses.
You can also get “The New York Pass”, ranging from 1 day to 10 days to save costs. (please check their website)
Recommended Sites . . .
Downton: Katz Diner, John Dory Oster Bar, The Standard Hotel, American Cut, Marc Forgione, Tribeca Grill, Atera and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (Tribeca).
Midtown: Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, Del Frisco’s, Betony, Gramercy Tavern, The Sea Fire Grill, The Four Seasons Hotel, Bull & Bear Prime Steakhouse and The Plaza Hotel.
Uptown: Amy Ruth’s Restaurant, Kitchenette, Earl’s Beer & Cheese, Ricardo Steakhouse, Flex Mussels, The Mermaid Inn, The Carlysle Hotel and The Surrey Hotel.
Queens: White Castle Mini Burgers (fast food).
-Williamsburg: Peter Luger Steakhouse, Rye, The Brooklyn Star, Cow & Clover and Five Leaves.
-Brooklyn Heights: Jack the Horse Tavern, Colonie, The River Café, Clark’s and Henry Public.